04 Jul2007


There was a time, not too long ago historically, when Ecuadorian/Peruvian tribes captured their enemies and shrunk their heads. The practice apparently stopped due to the general view that it might be a bit barbaric and a somewhat extreme treatment for any human being, regardless of their supposed infraction. I have a funny feeling the practice should be reintroduced for particular service slip-ups in our modern yet thoroughly infuriating (sometimes) society. If you could take a snapshot of my frame of mind this morning while speaking with our DSL service provider, the photo above would have been a perfect representation of my internal view of the folks on the other end of the phone. The steam coming out of my ears was so hot that a hovering mosquito was instantly killed by flying too close to my head. Here is the story of Hitler…

For the past two or three months our DSL connection has been extremely erratic. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. Even worse, sometimes it worked but in the middle of doing a post, it would disappear and all my work would be lost. And this comes after major DSL problems shrink1last February where things got so ridiculous that we had to contact some VERY senior folks at the company and only THEN did we get our modem replaced and service restored. At any rate, several calls to the company resulted in answers like “there is nothing wrong on our end,” or “the system is working fine according to our computers,” or “it must be your internal wiring from the street phone connection.” About a month ago, the company representatives told us it must definitely be the phone lines so we hired contractors to CHANGE EVERY SINGLE PHONE LINE in our home, thus we have brand new wires all the way from the street connection. The internet worked for a week or two and then suddenly it died. Completely died.

Several calls to the DSL provider resulted in nothing. No answers, no calls back, no schedule of technician to visit. NADA. Mrs. MM is always the good cop in our dealings with service providers, so after several calls and futile attempts to get some service, I finally took the phone and SCREAMED BLOODY MURDER at the service personnel and told them they had a few hours to get a technician to our home and the service restored or I would personally walk straight into the CEO’s office and sit there until he heard what I had to say. I also promised to name all of the people we had dealt with so far and I would not let up until a logical explanation for this incredibly poor service was reached. Now please explain to me why polite, decent pleas for service almost always result in no or slow service while threatening to figuratively shrink one’s head gets almost immediate action??? Why?

A few hours later, a technician from the company showed up at our door. He fiddled with our modem, checked our phone lines and concluded what? That indeed the DSL connection was dead! Completely dead. After a while, he mentioned that they were upgrading their equipment and that all customers would eventually be migrated to the new equipment or system. We happened to be one of those that had not yet been migrated and they have already switched to the new equipment, so as a result we experienced slow connections, dropped connections or no connections. So with one call to the Makati Business or Technical Office, the technician switched us over at that instant and the modem was turned back on and voila! everything is apparently okay! So everything the service people at the call center told us was completely untrue. So we didn’t need to spend thousands of pesos to upgrade our phone lines. So if they just let their customers know in advance what was going on we would not have been in limbo. In other words, we have wasted thousands of pesos, hundreds of minutes and shortened our lives from stress because these folks didn’t know what one arm of the company was doing and what the effects would be for customers.

Now you say, stop bitching Marketman, it’s over. It may be for us. But what about hundreds of other folks out there who haven’t the foggiest idea what is going on and who are experiencing the same problems. And who don’t have the chutzpah to call service departments and scream at them at decibel levels that would pop eardrums? This really pisses me off no end. A simple letter to subscribers letting them know about the migration and potential problems would have prevented all this angst. And frankly, it wasn’t the service technician’s fault, once he got to our house (a complicated process of requesting a technician usually, but since MM bust a gut screaming they short circuited the process and he was here in under two hours), it took less than 30 minutes to fix. The guys name… Hitler. I kid you not, he even had an ID card. My wife and I were in stitches. So if you have problems with your DSL in the Makati area, look for Hitler. He even had a mustache. As for the ding-dongs in their service call center, take a good look at the picture above and remember not to cross Marketman again!!! I should get an ID with the name Mussolini perhaps! :)



  1. Zita says:

    Good on you!

    Jul 4, 2007 | 7:09 pm


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  3. Jade186 says:

    Sometimes you really have to get your voice heard in order to get things done. I wouldn’t call you a “Hitler” or “Mussolini”, which is a bit exag, rather, just a common customer who wants to get things rightly and efficiently done. Our Philippine society needs more folks like you, MM.

    Jul 4, 2007 | 7:40 pm

  4. elaine says:

    Hahaha!!!! I can very well relate to you, MM! It’s my husband who’s the good cop while I’m Leona Helmsley!!!I could never match my husband’s ‘genial’ personality everytime we deal with service providers, customer service, etc. who are quite unreasonable….I may act boorish at times with them, but I definitely get results, and the service I think we deserve.

    Jul 4, 2007 | 8:04 pm

  5. Mila says:

    It is so frustrating!! Phone companies, ISPs, and anything to do with basic service can be as difficult to deal with as government services. Yet if you miss a bill or their collection system goes on a bender and keeps showing inaccurate record keeping, they threaten you with legal action.

    As for the tech guy, how hilarious that his parents would have named him that. Pinoy talaga!

    Jul 4, 2007 | 8:52 pm

  6. peterb says:

    It’s good that the service providers gets some every now and then. Almost everyone i know who has DSL has had terrible experiences with their connection. Did you ever hear that audio file about a DSL complaint that circulated through email? It was a wild exchange.

    Jul 4, 2007 | 9:59 pm

  7. lojet says:

    A classic example of a squeaky wheel gets the grease or is it nice guys finish last? Good for you not leaving yourself at the mercy of tyrants.

    Jul 4, 2007 | 10:01 pm

  8. Bluey says:

    ISP, Phone Providers or any local company that outsources their customer service always have incompetent customer service representatives who speak in pigdin english. My DSL provider once charged me 5x my subscription fee and it took them 6 months to correct this problem. So for 6 months, I would constantly get mail with threats of disconnection. I spent coultless hours screaming at representatives and their officers, compiled a sheet long list of names of Reps I spoke to who gave me wrong information, didn’t call me back, and reneged on promises. Went to their satellite office more times than I care to count before they actually corrected their little error. Sometimes Incompetence is not the only problem – I have actually heard a recording of a (local DSL provider) CSR cursing back at the irate customer. The Gall.

    Jul 5, 2007 | 2:21 am

  9. krizteene says:

    I can relate to you, MM. Sobrang nakaka inis yung ganitong experience. But on the side of the representatives, sometimes, they really don’t have the slightest idea what’s going on at the other side of the wall. In these companies, one thing they lack is communication between their departments. Sometimes, too, what you hear them tell you is only what is instructed of them to say, nothing more, nothing less. I heard the recording of the conversationn where one rep cursed at the customer…she pressed the wrong button kasi, not the mute button…(tsk tsk tsk). It’s really so stressful to work in these call centers. Sana they can improve the communication within their departments so the customers aren’t left hanging and/or with false hope.

    Jul 5, 2007 | 7:23 am

  10. Marketman says:

    krizteene, I completely agree with you that THE COMPANY in toto is more to blame… more likely poor management at the level of customer service. But service agents shouldn’t recommend things that may be totally untrue…like change the wires at a cost of several thousand if they are not sure… At any rate, I agree for the most part that the problems are deeper than they appear, I just wish companies in general would pay more attention to their service levels… I wouldn’t want to work in a call center either…I WOULD probably scream back at a customer…

    Oh, and for the first time commenter that suggested I might be a bigot because of this post and apparently the earlier chew with your mouth closed post, I have deleted your comment at my discretion. Don’t want another fishpan episode; first an elitist, now a bigot. Please re-read the post above carefully, I actually liked “Hitler” the serviceman. And as for chewing with one’s mouth open, I personally dislike it regardless of RACE of the person doing it. Yes, that may be considered intolerant of others chewing habits, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say it is bigotted…

    Jul 5, 2007 | 7:45 am

  11. corrine says:

    Is it pldtdsl?

    Jul 5, 2007 | 8:39 am

  12. bluegirl says:

    I had a really good laugh reading this post. It reminded me of several personal experiences similar to it. I, too, am puzzled why I get more results when I’m bitching like crazy than when I am congenial & polite.

    Funny thing is, the experience holds true whether over the phone with customer service or with a salesperson face to face.

    Perhaps it’s just natural in people to attend to the urgent (fire burning = crazy, bitchy customer) than to the important (calm customer with complaint).

    Jul 5, 2007 | 8:49 am

  13. titashi says:

    I recently had a similar problem with our phone service provider. Last year, I decided to stop our dsl service from them due to very bad service but retained their phone service, but I should have stopped both service. The phone service is giving us a headache too due to inconsistent service, imagine more than 2 weeks of no dial tone! and we got no word from any of their CSR or technician even if we went to their office twice to report the problem. Oh my, my blood pressure is shooting up just thinking about it….

    Jul 5, 2007 | 8:49 am

  14. MrsKookie says:

    We’ve met Hitler! :) My husband also had a fit when he found out his name.

    My husband’s office internet was down for days. He called their Helpdesk everyday, morning and afternoon but never got a reply. I had to ask our “connections” in the company to follow it up and finally Hitler came the day after. We thought our woes were over when Hitler called the hub (or something) at 4:45PM on a Friday, but no one was answering and no one could hook our internet as “everyone has left to go home”. It wasn’t even 5PM yet! (Pardon me saying this pero “parang gobyerno!”)… Anyway, it was finally the day after but we’re seriously considering switching internet providers.

    Jul 5, 2007 | 9:21 am

  15. Marketman says:

    You see, corroboration. And some people think I actually make these things up… heehee. :)

    Jul 5, 2007 | 9:36 am

  16. TOPING says:

    Have you ever entertained the thought that you may be a jerk magnet, MM (tech-wise, at least)? ;-0 Those telemarketers, then ShittyBank, your old web hosting service, and now your ISP… Well, at least now they know what The Ire of Marketman’s like!

    On the bright side, I’ve never had any problems with Globe’s tech service. Sure, sometimes the connection grounds to a halt, but they’re polite and lets me know what the problem is and when they’ll have it fixed. But then I called their 175 help line the other day and am promptly told I’ve dialed the wrong number! You’d think that phone companies of all people should know a thing or two about rerouting calls when they change numbers. Duh.

    Jul 5, 2007 | 11:20 am

  17. Marketman says:

    Toping, JERK MAGNET… I love it. And yes, I think the service gods figured they would let all the bad service in the Philippines come up against Marketman for training purposes or something… I love it. I AM A JERK MAGNET!

    Jul 5, 2007 | 11:31 am

  18. miclimptrp says:

    Actually, a lot of Customer Service helpdesks are very incompetent. Partly because most of them are outsourced to locally operating call centers instead of being part of the mother company.

    To cite an example recently I’ve had with SmartBro (Im naming it so you Guys know how much of a misnomer the name is) :) I’ve been trying to ask them to change the delivery address of my monthly billing to the office. But lo and behold, I was told to go to their Business Centers to make the requst in writing. I told them that first and foremost, I indicated in my application that correspondence should be addressed to my office. Next I asked the CS Rep if she has ever tried going to a Business center? It takes an average of an hour to an hour and a half of waiting before you get to talk to a person. Why can’t I even do it via email or fax? Well, they couldnt even answer my question. Thats how UN-Smart their Customer Service is. You should hear me rant at the Reps when I have a problem with my connection, which happens once a week! From an advertised speed of 384 kbps, I’m lucky to get 100 kbps! And thats on good days!

    My friend tells me that during orientation for new employees, they are just given a background of the product and given a list of scripts to say for whatever situation arises. No technical training or whatsoever. They are even encouraged to use a different name if the caller gets very irate and difficult to handle. And here’s my favorite line “Sir, there are Technical Difficulties.”

    Well to all of you Customer Service Reps (another misnomer) who make our life more difficult, I send you my best wishes: ” May a Thousand Fleas infest your nether regions” :D

    Jul 5, 2007 | 12:09 pm

  19. DADD-F says:

    Amen. And perhaps, it is just as well–send their customer service people, especially supposed managers, to you for training. “Supposed” because these guys love to be promoted to and be called managers, but they just CANNOT be managers if they refuse to tackle the serious work and responsibilities that go with the title.

    Had a similar experience quite recently. It took over a month for the Smart Wi-fi people to come to their senses and send technicians over. And to think that my husband, who’s a techie himself, already told them–after taking pains to do all the steps prescribed by the customer service several times and after excruciatingly exasperating calls to just about everybody at the customer service–that it must be the antenna because…well, the rest is quite technical that I don’t understand myself…so that he needs to talk to their technician(s) and not the sales people nor anyone who simply memorised some things they call answers to queries and complaints forwarded by innocent though not necessarily ignorant customers . Anyway, when they did come, they came at a time they knew that the knowledgeable one, my husband, was not around. This, after a very clear and specific agreement that they should come at a designated time, when he is around, so that they can discuss the matter more intelligently and solve the problem ASAP. Sigh…as it turned out, my husband was right all along.

    P.S. Kaya pala nagpapunta ng technicians kasi sinugod na sila ng husband ko sa Smart Office nila mismo.

    Jul 5, 2007 | 12:23 pm

  20. Katrina says:

    Like Toping, I’ve had *relatively* good service from Globe. Before getting hooked up, I did my research on the different ISPs and found that, although definitely far from perfect, Globe had the least number of complaints. Besides, my landline is already Globe (and I’m very happy with it), so it made sense to get them. So far, while the connection may sometimes drop or be slow, getting through to the CSR doesn’t take forever and they’re helpful. The one time they couldn’t figure out what was wrong, they promised to send a tech the next day. The problem fixed itself, but true enough, I got a call the next day asking if my connection was back. I hope the good service isn’t just because they have much fewer subscribers than PLDT does, because that could someday change.

    Jul 5, 2007 | 12:46 pm

  21. lee says:

    I had a poor service experience earlier today. I was tempted to blow up the place but all I did was pace, smile and talk to the manager and two secretaries in a kind and slow but sinister and psychokiller sounding tone. I think it worked, they offered to deliver the goods I ordered free of charge.

    Jul 5, 2007 | 1:03 pm

  22. tulip says:

    I couldn’t agree more to this, even if I’m in the same industry! Shucks, I pity those CSR because they have to do their job…and they hardly know the ins and outs of the whole services/technicalities and they are left with unreasonable/unrelated made up solutions to tell the consumer. They have to take all the heat.
    Generally, the local telecom industry’s services are just bad.I have several internet providers(different companies) that I use daily but I have never encountered interferences, that is because I’m in the industry. Anything bad about the connections may be taken against the services of the company.Can I conclude because it’s business, talk about money? Isn’t it just the same when several common consumers complain and later on decide to terminate the service and get another ISP?! So why good services aren’t for all?
    Hay, compare it dining in a fancy restaurant. One table a man in his usual “pambahay” outfit, just in denim pants, sneakers and a polo shirt.On another table a man, in business suit. A superficial waiter will be more courteous with the latter, hoping for a big tip.

    Jul 5, 2007 | 1:06 pm

  23. bernadette says:

    it really always pays to be a techie when dealing with these guys. I guess Hitler’s name is a plus for him because the name surely breaks some ice, don’t you think? Back to those dsl blues, etc. Several times, I have seen my husband go from patient to berserk modes dealing with the service line of SmartBro. Being a former telecommunication engineer, he has a good idea of all these befangled systems. But, sometimes…no, oftentimes, I shake my head when he has to be the one to dictate what is apparently wrong with the antennae, etc. Of course, the one answering him will (by script) say give us 24 hours to get back. And usually, the 24 hour period stretches to a 12-day week period. But it still has to be given a series of follow-up calls and different operators who will say “give us 24 hours to get back to you.” :-( In fairness to SmartBro, we have had good service after…and we cross our fingers it stays that way!!!

    Jul 5, 2007 | 1:18 pm

  24. math says:

    Its my hubby who’s the good cop & I’m the Mussolini when it comes to talking to these CSRs. During my initial calls I try to be nice. But if I have to keep calling them again & again that’s when I blow my top.

    Jul 5, 2007 | 2:37 pm

  25. zeph says:

    Partly to blame about this predicament happens to be the name of a popular boardgame…M O N O P O L Y. PLDT couldn’t give a rat’s ass about proper customer service because it controls the infrastructure. So what if you transfer from PLDT DSL to Globe DSL? It uses the same infrastructure anyway. What PLDT loses as part of its subscription base, it eventually gains through other service providers. True, direct subscription means more revenue but they don’t completely stop earning when they lose their direct clients, do they?

    We’ve had our own share of DSL woes all too often, and the same baloney explanation that you received from the CS rep MM, is the exact same reason we got. If calm, polite customers can’t get a Hitler immediately, I’m all for head shrinking!

    Jul 5, 2007 | 5:11 pm

  26. miclimptrp says:

    I can name a few other things to shrink….

    Jul 5, 2007 | 6:38 pm

  27. Jun says:

    Hi Marketman,

    Your post read like a checklist of what we had to go through about a month ago – down to the technician’s name Hitler. We’re back on now but not after countless follow-ups. I believe that the service provider did not anticipate the rash of new subscribers ever since they offered their discounted DSL program. I know of some people who have been waiting more than 2 months now for their DSL connection to be installed. Judging from the service – or the lack of it, i’m not too sure if it’s possible to shrink those guys heads any further. Heard that Eastern’s service has less downtime and has faster download speed. Cheers!

    Jul 5, 2007 | 6:48 pm

  28. mikelinparis says:

    disgusting experience! have had to go through the same here in paris. the service was sooooooooo bad that furious consumers forwarded complaints to the consumers affairs division which then audited this major provider and issued
    an administrative rebuke which was printed in the major daily’s. in the end, got credits and 50% off for a year. i would have preferred service and peace, of course.

    Jul 5, 2007 | 7:56 pm

  29. kaye says:

    ha! i never thought a lot of readers here actually rant at those CSR’s coz i always do.. and i really pity them for being at the other end of the phone whenever i call 172, i usually tell them that i won’t be hanging up unless my dsl is connected or running..what’s the use of calling it dsl(dedicated single line) if you can’t connect because according to them there’s a lot of subscribers connecting as well, duh?? it’s so amusing to be hearing all the scripted lines from different csr’s.. fortunately in the end i still get what i want, after much bickering and threats, i get my connection up and running..

    my only question which they can never answer is why do they require subscribers to have a lock in period of 1 year when they are fully aware that problems are already showing up just a week after you have your dsl connected, answers would always be “there are some technical problems po which we are currently working on” and i can’t really accept that.. all those banners and ads about really fast service is just a big hoax! i tried talking to supervisors from their tech dept. and also emailing the customer service department for the rudeness and lack of training for some csr’s but got nothing back from them.. not even a simple thank you for your letter.. tsk! since pldt has monopoly on everything (the other phone companies still rely on pldt’s cables) we really can’t do anything about the faulty service… tsk!

    Jul 5, 2007 | 10:25 pm

  30. Maddie says:

    I am laughing out loud literally as i read this post! The HITLER has been to my house too!!! That, after the same threatening was made, when I had no DSL for almost a month (I live and work through the net) with exactly the same answers you got from their customer disservice center. At least now you don’t have to wait that long to get them to answer you. Before, it would take an hour or so listening to the music (I would sometimes have my maid wait on the line) just to get someone to answer the call. However, you still get stupid answers such as, “You connection looks ok from our end.” PAKSHET! Ooops sorry. Lately I would just email them at their RBG etc. email address for any problems. I refuse to talk to their call center guys. Life is too short for me to get a “stroke” because of DSL. Sadly, having asked about other DSL providers in this country through other users in a public forum, everyone who’s switched had gone back to them. They are still the better DSL provider than the rest. As Kaye said, the monopoly lives on.

    And yes, Kaye, everything is a hoax. I was told by their CSA that I’m supposed to be happy with the 60% of the promised speed I’m getting!

    Is there anything we can do as subscribers/consumers apart from “shrinking heads” to make Customer Service in this country so much better? I mean they could start with honesty as well as information dissemination. That’s not so hard to do right? Heck they are a telecommunications company after all!

    Jul 5, 2007 | 11:54 pm

  31. Maria Clara says:

    I can feel, hear and understand your great sentiments! You could have spent those resources fiddling on new dessert ideas!

    Jul 6, 2007 | 1:09 am

  32. kyang2x says:

    The same thing happened with my dad’s internet connection in his office. They relocated their office and needed the internet due to the nature of his businnes and have called so many people already, but nothing happened. Some technicians went there and said it’s too complicated to wire all of it and get it done. Would you believe it took them 7 weeks to connect it? My dad was so pissed he wrote a letter and named all the people he communicated with (technicians/CS from call center) to the company’s President and had our driver handcarry it to the main office! Go figure what happened next. One of the technicians begged not to be named for the risk of losing his job. And would you believe that this company had the nerve to charge my dad’s company, all 7 wks of inactive internet! My dad was really fuming mad.

    Jul 9, 2007 | 2:51 pm

  33. Larees says:

    I had a similar experience with my DSL provider a few months back. It makes me wonder why we get faster service when we’re irate but almost no results when we’re calm and logical.

    Jul 10, 2007 | 4:37 am

  34. Cherrie says:

    If I were in your shoes I would be very furious as well. I’ll complain to their big bosses and ask them to pay the money I spent for upgrading my telephone line. It’s their mistake.

    Jul 29, 2007 | 4:29 am

  35. Blaise says:

    How come they let (not all but A LOT) of STUPID PEOPLE answer the phone??? If it’s a strategy to piss me off, it’s definitely working..

    Aug 16, 2007 | 11:46 am


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